By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Nov 16, 2015
On November 13, 2015, six coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in and around Paris. Armed gunmen engaged in mass shooting and suicide bombing at several public places including a concert hall, cafes and restaurants. According to reports, a total of 129 people were killed and over 300 injured. The deadliest attack was at the Bataclan theatre, where about 90 people were shot at by men wielding AK-47 assault rifles. A witness to the shootings at the theatre said that the terrorists shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) before opening fire.
According to the Quran, killing of a human being is the worst act in God’s eyes. The Quran states that killing one person is like killing all of humankind. (5:32) Committing such an act in the name of God only aggravates the heinous nature of the crime. Those who perpetrate such acts have no relation whatsoever with Islam.
How could we banish violence and terror from our lives? UNESCO has adopted the dictum: ‘Violence begins in the mind.’ Therefore any effort to meet this challenge needs to begin in our minds. We have to dispel from the minds of terrorists, the ideology they have adopted.
The Quran gives us an example. Before the revelation of the Quran, Arabs were continually engaged in warfare. The Quran offered them a message of peace, which reengineered their minds, and they became peaceful as a result. Reference to this incident has been given in a verse of the Quran. (3:103)
In modern history, we find an example of this nature in Japan. Before the Second World War, the Japanese people had adopted the violent method to achieve their goal. One of the methods used was known as hara-kiri, a form of suicide attack. However, after WWII educated people of Japan rose up to guide people towards the path of peace by giving up violent means. Thus Japan emerged as a peaceful country. This miracle occurred by way of dissemination of peaceful ideas through literature and several public speeches and broadcasts. It helped bring about a transformation in the mindset of the Japanese people and as a result Japan became a peaceful nation.
This tested method has to be applied to those who have today taken to violence. God has blessed each one of us with the same nature. Just as it was possible to address the nature of the Japanese people, it is also possible to address the nature of present-day terrorists.
We have to work for this cause at two levels: first, we have to condemn violence in unequivocal terms. We must tell the perpetrators of such acts that their actions go against both Islam and reason. No positive result is going to come out of it. On the other hand, we must present the peaceful teachings of the Quran to those who are under the influence of violence. For example, the Prophet once said: ‘God grants to peace what He does not grant to violence.’ (Sahih Muslim). Similarly, we must inform them of past events which clearly point out that violence has only carved out a history of death and destruction.
All relevant facts go to show that war and violence are not options before us. Any individual or group having a target can succeed in achieving it by only following the peaceful course of action. No positive goal has ever been attained through violence.